Alastair Cook’s 32nd Test hundred underpinned England’s fightback to end 135 runs adrift after day two of the fourth Ashes Test.
It was an all-round performance in Melbourne, highlighted by the bowlers taking seven Australian wickets for 67 runs and Cook passing fifty for the first time in 11 innings as he registered his first hundred against Australia since 2011.
After such a long drought, he batted with new aggression, taking 164 balls, with 15 fours, a strike-rate of 62.7. The milestone came three balls before the close and Cook ended on 104. Joe Root was with him on 49 off 105 balls as England reached 192-2.
For England’s South-African born debutant Tom Curran, there was a particularly savoury moment when he got his maiden Test wicket by bowling the dangerous Steven Smith for 76.
A no-ball from Curran on the opening day had denied him David Warner on 99 as his first Test wicket, but he was celebrating when Smith tried to force a short and wide delivery which chopped back on to his stumps. His departure sparked Australia’s collapse to 327 after they had started the day on 244-3.
Stuart Broad finished with 4-51, his best analysis in a Test innings since November 2016, and James Anderson picked up three.
After Smith’s departure, Shaun Marsh tried to hold the innings together, but after he was trapped lbw by Broad for 61, no one could raise a score above Tom Paine’s 24.
Cook took the senior role as England began their reply with Mark Stoneman (15) falling to a brilliant catch by Nathan Lyon off his own bowling and James Vices was out lbw to Josh Hazlewood for 17. Root proved an ideal anchor as England look to avoid a series whitewash. They are 3-0 down in the five-match series.